Govt urged to judiciously manage gas supply

ISLAMABAD (APP): The United Business Group in the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Sunday said gas shortages have been an integral part of daily life in winter for around two decades, and must be managed judiciously in larger national interests by meeting demands of industrial sectors especially exports oriented industries on top priority.
Talking to a delegation of industrialists and traders led by Momin Ali here today, Chairman UBG Shahzad Ali Malik, Sitar-I-Imtiaz pointed out that in recent years, however, the shortages have worsened owing to depleting local gas reserves and growing demand from households consumers due to fuel’s concessional tariff causing Rs 75 billion loss annually to distributors.
He said even gas imports from Qatar since 2015 have never helped fully bridge the supply gap during winters when the demand for residential heating surges.
He said the current winter season may face the worst ever due to rising European demand after the suspension of supplies by Russia.
He said the gas shortage is likely to persist in the absence of discoveries. Till then we will be dependent on expensive gas to partially meet our needs.
He said the government will also have to use policy tools to shift residential consumers to LPG permanently which will allow the government to divert the available gas for efficient power generation and direct industrial use for co-generation where efficiencies are far greater than its use for cooking and heating at home.
Leader of the delegation Momin Ali said this prudent step will help near full recovery of costs and reduce the subsidy burden on taxpayers.
He said it’s also important because huge gas subsidies are being pocketed mostly by affluent households while the vulnerable segments remain dependent on expensive LPG or other fuels.
He said what we urgently needed is also to plug 18 % huge line losses and alarming theft in pipeline networks of both the SNGPL and SSGC. He said the shift to LPG can address this issue too.
He said unless reforms are implemented, the nation’s gas woes will continue to multiply manifolds in the future badly hitting economic growth.